Streamlining the healthcare pathway

The healthcare pathway is the organisation of comprehensive and continuous treatment for a patient or service user within the area covered by their health authority.

It requires the right sequencing and/or coordination of those involved in prevention, healthcare, socio-medical and social services. Therefore, interventions by professional services need to be coordinated, both during the acute stages of a patient’s illness and for the overall support of the service user in the long term.

This requires fairly major changes to our healthcare system, so that prevention measures, treatment, socio-medical and social services can be combined, resulting in a genuine healthcare pathway.

These pathways constitute a real revolution that puts patients at the very heart of their treatment. In fact, currently focused on hospital treatment, our healthcare system provides outstanding treatment for the acute stages of a condition, but it becomes unsuitable and overly compartmentalised when it comes to providing ongoing care for the elderly or those with chronic illnesses. Hence the need to invest in and restructure primary care services.

Key figures:

  • More than 15 million French people have a chronic illness.
  • Home hospitalisation (HH) activity: 4.1 million days in 2012, covering 153,000 “stays” for 103,000 patients (+5.4% compared to 2011)
  • Telemedicine: 331 projects in 2012
  • Digital Hospital: €400 million forecast by 2017, €9.8 million of which was allocated to the programme in 2013.
  • Digital Healthcare Territories: €80 million set aside for the project under the “Investissements d’avenir” (Future Investments) programme.

Using digital technology to simplify the care pathway

Healthcare pathways bring about a profound paradigm shift in our care systems: they put patients back at the very heart of their treatment. It is no longer up to the patients to adapt to the healthcare system, but it is for the system to be structured so as to fulfil their needs. This is achieved by tailoring treatments, contact between healthcare professionals, facilities and resources to the patients, those around them and their needs etc

This is a huge task, and digital technology is one of the key tools required to achieve it. In fact, digital solutions could prove particularly useful in helping to set up healthcare pathways, by introducing greater flexibility and simplicity into communications between all the key players in the healthcare system.

And so, taking a holistic approach to the care pathway, digital technology could help to tailor it so that it offers:

The distribution of quality information prior to admission to hospital, for the purposes of prevention, but also to prepare a patient before they arrive at the healthcare establishment, even going so far as to make appointments and issue reminders.

A warm welcome on arrival at hospital, and effective management of the flow of patients, due, in particular, to orientation or reception terminals and queue management systems with digital displays giving information regarding waiting times.

Help with understanding the condition and its treatment during a stay in hospital, with tools for the therapeutic education of the patient, but also comfort and entertainment for the patient with a “home-style” multimedia experience and the wherewithal to maintain social connections with family and friends.

Support when returning home after a hospital stay, either based on targeted therapeutic education or by going so far as to set up tele-monitoring solutions. Coordinating visits by home careworkers and ensuring information is appropriately shared between them, the hospital and the GP are also areas in which digital technology can provide solutions.

Orange Healthcare is assisting key players in the healthcare system to participate in this revolution.

Our expertise in hosting and transmitting medical data and our ability to integrate mean that we can make a major contribution to the modernisation of healthcare systems.

Together with the Agences Régionales de Santé (Regional Health Authorities, ARS), hospitals and area hospital consortiums, Orange Healthcare is helping to enhance cooperation in healthcare and to streamline the flow of information, to improve productivity, reactivity and coordination.

  

Tomorrow: accessing care without going to hospital

Our current, hospital-centric care system needs to be streamlined. The ageing of our population and also the sharp increase in the number of patients with chronic conditions means we have to be able to monitor them in the long term, and not only during critical periods that require admission to hospital, as in the past.

For this reason, numerous facilities offering access to primary care services are being developed locally in the form of multi-disciplinary health centres. These entities bring together healthcare professionals with different specialisms who are in private practice in the same area, most often in rural locations (in 80% of cases). They make it possible to ensure healthcare services are available locally to those who need them whilst improving the working environment of the healthcare professionals.

This situation also gives rise to the development of telemedicine solutions. Whether for the elderly or those with chronic conditions, they make it easier to monitor the medical condition of the patient from their own home, workplace or holiday destination, making it possible to benefit from personalised medical expertise regardless of distance. Local healthcare professionals also have the advantage of the expertise of a remote specialist, with whom they are able to discuss or fine-tune a diagnosis. Best use is made of available medical resources, with patients able to remain safely in their own homes, reassured that any deterioration in their state of health is being pre-empted by strengthened links with the medical personnel, thus keeping intensive treatment to a minimum.

Finally, when intervention is unavoidable, the time spent in hospital is greatly reduced by developments in outpatient surgery. With support beforehand and when the patient returns home, outpatient surgery makes it possible to be in hospital for under 12 hours, without the need for an overnight stay, with treatment of an equivalent level of quality and safety as that received during a traditional admission.

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Care pathway terms

The organisation of comprehensive and continuous treatment for a patient or service user within the area covered by their health authority.

Covers hospital admissions of under 12 hours without an overnight stay, with treatment of an equivalent level of quality and safety as that received during a traditional admission.

The purpose of the Agences Régionales de Santé (Regional Health Authorities) is to ensure the overall management of our healthcare system on a regional basis. They are responsible for public health security, prevention initiatives carried out in the region, organising care services according to the needs of their population, including in facilities that care for the elderly or people with disabilities. They ensure healthcare policies are implemented more consistently and effectively in their area and make it possible for care pathways to be more flexible, so as to fulfil the needs of the patients.

Multi-disciplinary health centres aim to offer those living in a given area a range of local healthcare services, both in terms of prevention and treatment, and they provide a response to changes in practice methods that is welcomed by many healthcare professionals.